2012 Audi A8L: Dynamic Steering (with video)
January 24, 2012
While I'm generally a fan of new technology, sometimes I feel that some things don't need improvement. In fact what some call improvement, I call unwanted change.
That leads me to our Audi A8L's dynamic steering. According to everything I've read, the steering ratio is modified, depending on vehicle speed. It's more responsive (wheels more with less steering input) at low speeds, where it's just the opposite at highway speeds.
In theory, this sounds like a good idea. Fewer turns lock-to-lock in a parking space, is always a good thing. My problem is this weird transition zone, where the system goes from slow mode to highway mode. I found it a bit surprising (and alarming) that I couldn't confidently predict how sharp it was going to turn when at parking lot speeds.
Maybe it'll go wide. Maybe it'll turn in sharp this time and clout that concrete pillar. If there was a more gradual transition, perhaps it wouldn't bother me. Furthermore, the steering seems to get heavier at slower speeds, which is the opposite of what I'm used to.
I dropped-in a video explaining (even though there's no sound) the system. Ingenious, no doubt, but I think it still needs some fine tuning.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor